Benjamin Latrobe

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Benjamin Henry Boneval Latrobe (May 1, 1764 – September 3, 1820) was a British-born American architect best known for his design of the United States Capitol, as well as his design of the Baltimore Basilica, the first Catholic Cathedral built in the United States. Latrobe came to the United States in 1796, settling first in Virginia and then relocating to Philadelphia where he set up his practice. In 1803, he was hired as Surveyor of the Public Buildings of the United States, and spent much of the next fourteen years working on projects in Washington, D.C. Later in his life, Latrobe worked on a waterworks project in New Orleans, where he died in 1820 from yellow fever. He has been called the "Father of American Architecture".



Early life

Benjamin Henry Latrobe was born May 1, 1764 at the Fulneck Moravian Settlement, near Pudsey in West Yorkshire, England, to Reverend Benjamin Latrobe and Anna Margaretta Antes.[1] His mother was born in the American colony of Pennsylvania to a wealthy landowner, but was sent by her father to England to attend a Moravian school at Fulneck. Latrobe's father was responsible for all Moravian schools and establishments in Britain, and had an extensive circle of friends in the higher ranks of society. His father stressed the importance of education and scholarship and the value of social exchange, while his mother instilled curiosity and interest in America.[2] From a young age, Latrobe enjoyed drawing landscapes and buildings.[3]

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